Lately there’s been one game, and one game only, spinning around and around the Blu-ray drive of my PS3; GTA 5. While I could go on and on about the joys of open world violence I’m here instead to talk about a game that could serve as its polar opposite. The game of which I speak is Puppeteer; the latest side-scrolling platformer from Sony Japan. Here at Gamerillaz you never quite know what game you’re going to get to review next and Puppeteer is a game I’m entering into with very little prior knowledge. While my final review may be a little while off I thought I’d share some initial impressions after spending my first hour with the game.
The first thing that hit me about Puppeteer was the gorgeous presentation. The distinctive art style makes you feel as though you’re sitting front row at a puppet show fashioned from fabric, paper and wooden materials. Yet there’s a sparkle of magic that brings the set and players to life. As scenes and levels change the show’s stage shifts and re-assembles while the audience can be heard laughing and applauding. It’s very effective at adding to the sense of wonder the game is so desperately trying to create and I’ll be interested to see what other tricks the game has got up its sleeve as events transpire.
The game appears to be divided up into seven acts. At this point in time I’ve completed only the first act which comprised of three different sections referred to as curtains. From what I’ve managed to grasp so far the story seems to revolve around a kingdom enslaved by an evil Moon Bear King. As a headless puppet called Kutaro you appear to be tasked with freeing the land from his wicked reign and saving a princess of some description. There’s a witch involved as well who seems to be on my side but I don’t quite trust her yet and there’s also a strange flying cat named Ying-Yang who you control with the right analog stick to aid Kutaro in his quest. If it sounds as though I don’t quite know what’s going on plot-wise it’s because the zany cut scenes and manic characters have left me more than a little perplexed. Still I’ve grasped enough to give me a sense of purpose and I’m curious as to how the “plot” will develop from here on in.
Gameplay-wise Puppeteer starts out like any other 2D platformer. I’ll admit I was initially concerned that the platforming wasn’t different enough to stand out from the crowd. That is until I unlocked a powerful pair of scissors called the Calibrus. Not only can this be used as a sword for combat but it also becomes a central navigation mechanic as many paper and materials within the levels can be cut and climbed using the scissors. The gameplay very quickly took on a greater degree of challenge and fun and I’m sure that by the time I’m in a position to give a full review I’ll have discovered a few other unique and surprising gameplay mechanics.
So now I have a problem. I’m going to have to split my time between Rockstar’s crime masterpiece, GTA 5, and this curious little platformer about a puppet. I guess that could be deemed the definition of a first world problem. Keep your eyes peeled on Gamerillaz for my upcoming review of Puppeteer. Initial impressions have been good but something tells me I haven’t seen the best that this game has to offer yet!